Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Eisenmenger Syndrome

Heart defects associated with Eisenmenger syndrome cause blood to circulate abnormally in the heart and lungs.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Eisenmenger Syndrome

Eisenmenger syndrome is a long-term complication of an unrepaired congenital heart defect.

Insight:

  • The congenital heart defects associated with Eisenmenger syndrome cause blood to circulate abnormally in the heart and lungs.
  • When blood doesn't flow normally, blood vessels in the lungs become stiff and narrow, increasing the pressure in the lungs' arteries.
  • Symptoms may include bluish or grayish skin color (cyanosis); large and rounded fingernails or toenails (clubbing); easily tiring and shortness of breath with activity; shortness of breath while at rest; chest pain or tightness; skipped or racing heartbeats (palpitations); dizziness or fainting; coughing up blood; numbness or tingling in fingers or toes; and headaches.
  • Causes: Eisenmenger syndrome usually develops due to a hole between the chambers of the heart.
  • Diagnosis may include, blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, and echocardiogram. The provider may also use computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and cardiac catheterization.
  • Treatment may include medications to control irregular heart rhythms, iron supplements, aspirin or other blood-thinners, medications that relax blood vessel walls, sildenafil and tadalafil, and antibiotics.

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